By Revekka Papadopoulou*
Prominent Greek Americans from all over the United States helped President Bush raise $1.5 million Wednesday night at a re-election fund-raiser in Washington, where he began his drive for $170 million nine months ago.
Alex Spanos, owner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, was the event’s chairman. His son, Dean, the team’s president, was a co-host.
“This is without a question one of the most exciting things that is ever happened for George W. Bush, our President, to have the GreekAmericans representing from all over the United States tonight. I am so proud, so proud and I know they feel the same way as they are supporting George W”, Alex Spanos said.
Prominent Greek- Americans from all over the country dominated the list of donors for the event. Contributors included Harry Pappas, president and CEO of Pappas Telecasting Companies in California; Jan Antonoplos, the Delaware County, Ohio, clerk of courts; Simos Dimas, a Bronxville, N.Y., lawyer; William Stavropoulos, director of Computer Associates International, Inc., one of the federal government’s top 100 contractors. The list also included Peter J. Pappas from New York, John Regas from Chicago, James Moschovitis from Washington.
“As you probably know, my father’s relationship with the President goes back to the President’s father, many years ago. It is a great honor to be close to the Bush family obviously. We are great supporters but, I think, tonight it is special because when I look around the room I see a thousand people here among them 800 – 900 GreekAmericans and I was watching my dad speak tonight and I know he was so proud. Because I know he let the President know that this is great greek community is here to support the President of the United States. Greek Republicans of the United States”, Dean Spanos stated.
“The event was very successful. It was a wonderful evening. The President’s message was right on target and he explained to everybody why he should be re-elected so it was a great evening, it was a great message for the President”, noted Manuel Stamatakis, founder & CEO, Capital Management Enterprises in Pennsylvania, and a great contributor. “It was important for Greek – Americans because Greek-Americans came from all over the country and probably the first time I can recall that we were able to gather so many Greek – Americans for the President. We had over a 1,000 people at the event and it was very successful to raise a 1.5 million for the President”, he added.
“It was a great “GreekAmericans for Bush” event in Washington. It was the first of its type. We did ourselves proud. We raised a lot of money but I think that the more important is a question of the Greeks becoming a part of everything. The President and elected officials are aware of the Greek-Americans and the club that they have. It was a very successful event”, said Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla).
Reffering to the Cyprus issue, Congressman Bilirakis said that he has already sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, co-signed by 45 members of the Congress, spelling out some of the problems of the Annan Plan. “Everytime that people are talking, hopefully good things would take place. I don’t blame the Greek- Cypriots. I don’t think they should agree to the Plan exactly as it is now but with some changes and with some give and take on both sides, hopefully finally the island would be reunited”, he said.
*** An Associated Press article was also used.